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posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 05 2014, @08:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the All-change dept.

bob_super writes:

"The rumors are getting more persistent that Altera may abandon the move to Intel fabs and go back to TSMC.

While this seems to be specifically due to delays at the 14nm node, would failing to deal with the 2nd biggest FPGA vendor doom Intel's attempt to open its fabs to others?"

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GlobalFoundries Spins Off ASIC Solutions Division, Creating a New Subsidiary: Avera Semiconductor 5 comments

GlobalFoundries Establishes Avera Semiconductor: a Custom Chip Company

GlobalFoundries this week announced that it has spun off its ASIC Solutions division, establishing Avera Semiconductor, a wholly owned subsidiary that will help fabless chip developers to design their products. Avera will work closely with GlobalFoundries' customers to enable them take advantage of various process technologies that GF has, but the company will also establish ties with other contract makers of semiconductors to help their clients develop chips to be made using leading edge process technologies at 7 nm and beyond.

[...] The new wholly owned subsidiary of GlobalFoundries has over 850 employees, an annual revenue of over $500 million, and ongoing projects worth $3 billion. By working not only with clients of GlobalFoundries, but expanding to customers of companies like Samsung Foundry and TSMC, Avera has a chance to increase its earnings over time. Avera Semi is led by Kevin O'Buckley, a former head of ASIC Solutions, who joined GlobalFoundries from IBM.

Shuffling money on the Titanic?

Previously: AMD, GlobalFoundries Renew Vows, Focus on Path to 7nm
GlobalFoundries to Spend $10-12 Billion on a 7nm Fab, Possibly $14-18 Billion for 5nm
AnandTech Interview With the CTO of GlobalFoundries: 7nm EUV and 5 GHz Clock Speeds
GlobalFoundries Abandons "7nm LP" Node, TSMC and Samsung to Pick Up the Slack

Related: Can Intel Really Share its Fabs?


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by ikanreed on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:07PM

    by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:07PM (#11518) Journal

    I was annoyed at how uninformative as to details and context the summary was. So I clicked the article and got a whole extra sentence of information.

    They've improved the yield rate. That means something to me, apparently.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:10PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:10PM (#11520)

      Yeah, those are all English words (except maybe "fabs") but when put together in that order, they do not make any sense.

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    • (Score: 1) by tibman on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:30PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:30PM (#11556)

      Sounds like TSMC is doing well at 20nm. I didn't understand the sharing of Intel's fab from the article. It isn't mentioned. Sounds like something that everyone should just know. If Altera was supposed to be the first non-Intel company to use Intel's 14nm fab then that is interesting. But seriously, Intel can't expect someone to wait around for the next six months and not make chips.

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      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:42PM

        by TheRaven (270) on Thursday March 06 2014, @02:42PM (#11952) Journal

        Intel has been trying to encourage SoC makers to use Atom cores and Intel's fabs, so that they can compete with ARM. The traditional model for ARM licensees is to license a core design (or a few) from ARM, possibly (depending on their in-house expertise, the amount they're willing to pay ARM, and their target market) hack them up a bit, and then stick some extra stuff (custom coprocessors) on the die. Altera does this with quite a few parts, combining 1-4 ARM cores with an FPGA so that you can prototype custom coprocessors (or even ship the FPGA version, if the volume is sufficiently low that it's cheaper than an ASIC).

        For people in the traditional ARM model, ARM is more or less a single supplier, but they have a lot of competing fabs, each of which is interested in new orders. ARM will put their licensees in contact with fabs, but they can also be completely independent contracts. In the Intel world, you get everything together but the down side is that you are a tiny customer for the fabs, whereas Intel's own product lines are a huge customer.

        This is combined with the fact that TMSC has had better luck with their latest die shrink than Intel and so makes using Intel fabs a lot less sensible. This is unfortunate for Intel, because getting companies to use their fabs is a key part of getting companies to produce Atom SoCs, which is core to their plan to compete with ARM. If you're making a new phone, table, or whatever, Atom doesn't look that interesting because it's a single-vendor solution. In contrast, if you buy an ARM SoC from, say, Samsung and have a bad experience with them, you can easily get the next one from Qualcomm and reuse most of your software stack, including third-party userspace software.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Admiral on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:08PM

    by Admiral (2814) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @09:08PM (#11519) Journal

    I like Altera's FPGA/SoC products as a hobbyist, but I can't afford their non-low-end stuff anyway. So, whether they use TSMC on 16nm or Intel on 14nm it's no difference to me. :)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mwvdlee on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:08PM

    by mwvdlee (169) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:08PM (#11551)

    original: "We may abandon our move to Intel fabs".
    translation: "Lower your prices Intel, or else!"